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Tortorella: Flyers ‘can’t be getting too emotional’ with players in trade rumors

Scott Laughton
Photo Credit: Heather Barry

The Philadelphia Flyers are pushing hard for a playoff spot but they aren’t losing sight of the bigger picture. Since Danny Briere took over as general manager, the organization has been clear that they are going to rebuild this the right way. He, along with Keith Jones and John Tortorella have formed a triumvirate atop the organization to get this thing back on track.

The Flyers are finding a lot more success than anyone really thought this season, though. They’re firmly in a playoff spot here in the middle of February, and public models and oddsmakers alike give them a pretty good chance of making the postseason.

What the Flyers will do at the trade deadline has been a subject of debate for a few weeks — or months — now. When Sean Walker and other players came up in talks back in December, there was still a chance that the Flyers would fade before the deadline. Even just a few weeks ago it looked as if the Flyers were hitting a roadblock with a five-game losing streak heading into the All-Star break.

But now, after four straight wins out of the break, there may be a feeling that the Flyers should consider keeping things together for a playoff run. While that remains a possibility, the Flyers aren’t going to stray from their path.

One of the names that’s been bandied about in trade discussions is Scott Laughton. The hard-working forward isn’t new to trade rumors as he’s popped up in them since even before signing his current five-year contract in 2021.

Laughton brings a lot to the Flyers outside of his on-ice contributions. And despite some inconsistent play this season, he’s a guy that would be hard to move.

“He’s an important guy. He’s well-respected. He’s a Flyer,” Tortorella said on Wednesday. “The intangibles that he brings. He cares and I think that rubs off on people, and he has a really good personality for team concept. 

“He’s an important guy but it is what it is where we’re at as an organization. I’ll say it again. It is what it is. We’ll just see what happens as we go here the next few weeks.”

Moving Laughton would cause some shockwaves in the locker room with the 29-year-old forward being the only player wearing a letter until last night’s captaincy announcement. Tortorella was asked if there’s a fear of losing some of the culture the Flyers are building with Laughton helping to lead the way.

“It’s not a fear; it’s, again, the part of the process we’re in as a team. We can’t look for things not to continue our process,” he said. “We have so many things to do, so much more of the process to build this team that we can’t be getting too emotional…

“If it’s the best thing for the future of our team in building it the proper way we have to follow through. We have to. The guys know it. We’ve been very forthright publicly about this. We need to stay with it.”

Tortorella has respect for Laughton and anyone else in trade rumors in the next coming weeks. He knows that they want to be a part of what the Flyers are building, but it may turn out that moving those players is what’s best for the organization, even if it’s a difficult decision.

“I don’t think any of the guys — I don’t want to speak for them — I don’t think any of the guys that have been out there with our team, maybe being looked at, want to leave. I know Danny, myself, and Jonesy aren’t looking to move them. We’re not actively saying ‘Here he is.’ But if it works out that it is the best for the building of this team, we have to follow through. 

“That’s why I’ve tried to be as honest as possible with our team because I think they deserve that respect. I don’t think they should be surprised. Some teams just kind of sit and then bounce it on you. I will not do that with our players. I have too much respect for what they’ve done. So I want to be totally upfront and that’s how we’ve gone about it here.”

The Flyers as an organization have been extremely forthcoming and transparent about their ultimate goal. It’s been a refreshing change of pace after years of uncertainty and retooling in Philadelphia.

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